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What Margins Should a Resume Have? (Resume Margin Guidelines)

What Margins Should a Resume Have? (Resume Margin Guidelines)

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You’ve spent hours carefully crafting what you believe to be the perfect resume. You’ve gone over the spelling and punctuation with a fine-toothed comb and have done everything you possibly can to craft the resume of your dreams.

But have you thought about your resume margins and spacing? Have you adjusted them and is it really that important?

What Is Standard Resume Margins?

For most resumes, it is typical to have margins set at one inch. If you are struggling for space, setting your resume margins to a smaller limit is possible, but they should never be less than half an inch.

This will ensure the text of your resume is set away from the edges of the paper. The reason for doing this is to enable the text to stand out and be more eye-catching to whoever is viewing it. It can also make your resume easier to read.

Why Does the Resume Margin Size Even Matter?

It would be easy to think that the resume margin sizes aren’t important. Surely the employer should be more interested in what your resume actually says rather than the size of your resume margins?

The truth is, however, that formatting your CV margins to the right size can make it easier for employers to read your resume. It makes the information stand out from the page and avoids your resume looking too busy or disorganized.

All these points can mean your resume is more likely to be read by an employer when compared with one that doesn’t have the right spacing or margins.

Should a Resume Be Double-Spaced?

The main thing to consider when it comes to line spacing for a resume is to ensure consistency. Rather than using a variety of different font sizes, opt for one size and signify section titles by putting them in bold.

Most people find that double-spacing between sections is sufficient space to ensure that the reader can easily see where one section ends and another begins. This resume spacing also gives a more professional look to the overall document.

How to Adjust Resume Margins

The exact method for adjusting your resume margins and line spacing will vary slightly depending on which application you use. Most people use Microsoft Word, Google Docs or Apple Pages.

Step 1. Microsoft Word

  1. Select the Layout tab.
  2. Select Margins.
  3. If you find an option that fulfills your requirements, select it from the available choices.
  4. If there is no suitable option available, select Custom margins.
  5. The Page setup box that appears will allow you to set your own margin sizes.
  6. When you are happy with your margins, select OK.
  7. If you are likely to use these margins for the majority of future documents, you can set them as your default margins by selecting Set as default instead of OK when you have input your preferred margin sizes.

Step 2. Google Docs

  1. Select File from the toolbar at the top of the page.
  2. At the bottom of the dropdown menu, select Page setup.
  3. This will cause a pop-up to appear. On the right, you will find a variety of margin boxes.
  4. Type your preferred margins into the boxes.
  5. When you are happy with your margins, select OK.
  6. If you are likely to need the same margin settings frequently, select Set as default rather than OK.

Step 3. Apple Pages

  1. Select Document from the options at the right of the screen.
  2. From here, you will be able to adjust each margin individually using the Document margins section.
  3. Once you are happy, your margins will be adjusted automatically.
What Margins Should A Resume Have?
What Margins Should A Resume Have?

Additional Tips for Your Resume Format

Once you have decided on the margin sizes and spacing requirements of your resume, think about what else needs to be included.

Your resume is an employer's first impression of you. They will need to be able to quickly and easily see why you should be offered an interview.

There are a few steps about resume formatting you can take to help your resume make it through this first stage of the recruitment process.

Use the Right Font Style

While it might be tempting to use a fancy font, it is more important that your resume is easy to read.

This is why most people will choose a standard font and font size for their resume. It ensures that the reader will be able to easily scan the document for relevant information.

Bullet Points

Employers want resumes to be eye-catching and easy to read. Where possible, use bullet points and very short paragraphs.

This enables whoever is reading your resume to see the most important information at a glance rather than needing to spend a long time reading through it.

Highlight Your Skills

Before submitting your resume, take a little time to make sure that your skills are highlighted.

Think about the qualities that are most likely to be in demand for this role and how you can show you have the skills required to do the job to the best possible standards.

Consider Writing a Cover Letter

Not every resume will require an accompanying covering letter, but they can sometimes be helpful.

A cover letter gives you the opportunity to speak to the employer in a less formal way than the resume and allows for more of your individuality to be seen. It is particularly useful for people who have worked freelance or have a slightly patchier employment history as the cover letter provides an opportunity to explain this.

A well-written cover letter can persuade a potential employer to put your resume through to the next stage of the recruitment process, even if you don’t necessarily tick all the experience or skills requirements.

Watch Your Resume Length

Ideally, a resume should be no more than two pages long (two sides of A4). Some people will even recommend keeping a resume to one page.

You should provide the most important information without losing the interest of the employer, so it is important to keep it as short and to-the-point as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most people find that a one-inch margin is the perfect size for their resume.

If you are trying to condense your resume into two pages, you might find that adjusting your margins to half an inch will give you the extra space you need, while avoiding making your resume look cluttered.

Most employers prefer standard resumes compared to creative ones. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t submit a creative resume, but you may (ironically) find it harder to get your resume noticed.

This is especially important if you are submitting your resume online, as these will generally be filtered by an automated system. Creative resumes will often be discarded by these systems without being looked at.

If you do choose to submit a creative resume, the standard margin size is usually between half an inch and one inch, the same as for a standard resume.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is an automated software system that tracks resumes and applications submitted online. More and more job applications are being made online, so this type of system is commonly being used.

When a company chooses to use an ATS, they input their candidate requirements. The software will then scan all the resumes for keywords and relevant information before choosing the resumes to put forward for the next stage of reviews and interviews.

Because more and more companies are using this type of software, it is more important than ever to ensure that your resume is properly formatted. Anything outside the norm risks being rejected by the software, as it will not fit the criteria that has been input.

This means that unusual margins or a creative resume approach can be rejected because it doesn’t fit the template. This can happen even if the candidate has all the required skills and experience.

If you are sending your resume via email, it is always a good idea to send it as a PDF. This avoids any issues with software and means that no matter what system the employer uses, they will be able to view your resume.

The recommended margin size for a resume is typically between 0.5 to 1 inch on all sides. This provides a balanced and professional appearance, ensuring the content is well-organized and easily readable.

Standard resume margin sizes range from 0.5 to 1 inch. However, it's essential to maintain consistency on all sides to create a visually appealing and neatly formatted document.

You can use the margin settings in word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs to set up margins for a resume. Navigate to the "Page Layout" or "Page Setup" options and adjust the margins to the desired size, ensuring they are uniform on all sides.

Yes, margins matter on a resume as they contribute to the document's overall readability and visual appeal.

In addition, correctly set margins create a well-organized and balanced layout, making it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to review your qualifications and information.

Consistent and appropriate margins help create a professional first impression and enhance the overall presentation of your resume.

Final Thoughts

Resume margins may not seem particularly important, and they’re definitely less important than the actual content of your resume. However, it’s important not to underestimate the professional value that carefully adjusted margins can give to your resume.

No matter how wonderful the content is, if your resume doesn’t look professional, it might not make it through the first selection phase and won’t be given the opportunity to shine.

Taking the time to make sure your resume margins and spacing are right can make the difference between receiving an invitation to interview and a letter of rejection.

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